Natural Church Development has the potential to help a church become more balanced in its ministry:
Is balance all that important? And if it is, why?
This church appears to be very well balanced – only 16 (Min-Max difference) between the Minimum Factor (Holistic Small Groups: 46) and the strongest Quality Characteristic (Loving Relationships at 62). And it would be well balanced except that I have omitted the real Minimum Factor – Empowering Leadership at 22 (see below). This makes a Min-Max difference of 40 – not healthy at all.
Even so, this Profile is good news. It tells us exactly where to concentrate in order to make this church’s health more balanced. This church is being held back quite dramatically by one Quality Characteristic. If they could just get improve ‘Empowerment,’ church health has the potential to go through the roof!
Whether considering humans or churches, an important requirement for health is balance. To be healthy one needs to be balanced. Living creatures find it difficult, if not impossible, to reproduce when health is out of balance.
Balance does not mean ‘rigid.’ Balance means being flexible enough to compensate for whatever is happening at the moment. A tightrope walker needs balance, but is constantly compensating for the wind, rope tension, and personal movement and so on.
When we do a survey the profile tells us where to adjust in order to achieve balance. The next survey informs us where we need to adjust now.
Not only does Natural Church Development help us become balanced, it also points out the need for flexibility. It reminds us that no two churches are the same, and that we are not the same church we were when we did our last survey. An absence of balance creates sick churches.
The gap between the Minimum Factor and the Maximum Factor (the Min-Max Difference) of the Quality Characteristics in any church is critical. A standard deviation of Natural Church Development = 15. Church health is more sustainable situation where that gap is small – 15 or less.
When the gap is large (e.g., a score of 30 is 2 standard deviations), and if that church does not give attention to it’s Minimum Factor and improve its health, then the Maximum Factor will be dragged down and the health of that corps will collapse. Perhaps this sheds light on why so many churches have seemed poised on a breakthrough, yet never quite make it to the next level.
Could it be that the Quality Characteristics of Natural Church Development actually define true revival?
Do revivals cease because they eventually become unbalanced and begin to emphasize aspects of church life but neglect other key components that would keep the movement balanced and healthy?